February 24, 2006

University podcasts – thoughts so far

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/audio/

I thought I'd note a few thoughts that have been sloshing around regarding the WarwickPodcasts thing.

I've recently been contacted by a few UK Universities asking about how we do them. Interestingly the questions have largely been about technical issues rather than why we do it.

So far they've certainly been fun to do and easy enough to release. I am sure they have not added any significant problems to Chris M and his team of highly trrained people. At least not that he's told me about anyway.

What's interesting is that most of the attention elsewhere seems to be towards two activities – eLearning and capturing keynote events. A quick scan of insitutional activity in this area comes up with a lot of lectures, seminars, round tables and learning materials.

I am not sure about the value in publishing this stuff willy nilly. We have taken a different approach and released specific interviews and discussions specially recorded for the channel rather than just recording public events (though I see no reason not to do this as well). John Dale has pointed out a number of US insitutions that are doing a lot of publishing of audio and video, but mostly it seems to be point, record and publish stuff rather than more creative content.

Is this an issue? I am not sure yet. I question whether 40 1hr30min lectures is something people are going to want to look at much. We learnt with the first podcast that an hour is a big ask for most people and have since kept things to around 20mins which seems a much better length.

A few stats for those who care about these things:

Since November we've had nearly 10,000 visits to the main podcast page and nearly 50,000 page visits to that plus the xml feed – I like to think that's a significant good thing :-)

The ID debate between Steve Fuller and Jack Cohen has been the most linked to piece (unsurprising perhaps).

Releasing items in the morning seems to generate more response from Warwick people than releasing them in the afternoon.

We have 3 Yahoo podcast subscribers (this made my day yesteday!)

We were the first UK University to be listed in iTunes (to my anecdotal knowledge – please refute this if you know otherwise)

Any comments/ideas/feedback would be helpful btw. This is still a project in its early stages so all input is greatfully recieved.

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